In 1969 when Antanas Sutkus (b. 1939) took the photograph “Pasqueflowers” showing three boys on a forest path, it was an important year for photography in Lithuania. Sutkus was a co-founder and president for many years of the Lithuanian Society of Photography Art which was set up then in Vilnius. The aim was to extend the medium in the field of fine arts as an independent form of expression. It is mostly due to Antanas Sutkus that this was promoted in Lithuania. From 1958 to 1964 he studied journalism in Vilnius and worked for various newspapers and magazines. But he did not intend to restrict his field of work to journalism, which he found to be too strongly politicized.
Antanan Sutkus’ chosen profession is portrait photography. His long-term project is entitled “People from Lithuania” and since the 1970s he has been working on it intensively. In the meantime he is concentrating on classifying his own extensive archive. He always carries his camera with him on his way through the city and in the country, in order to capture special moments. He describes his approach in his own words as follows: “I trusted my intuition and worked spontaneously. For me the greatest merit of photography is its ability to penetrate into the human soul – I have always aspired to exact the best. The recipe for my success is very simple indeed – you have to loce people.” (“Autobiographic Notes”, in: Retrospektyva / Retrospective, Vilnius 2009, p. 443)
His exceptional situational perception is shown by the images entitled “Pasqueflowers”. Two of the three boys of around the same age are holding flowers in their hands. The small group almost forms a semi-circle on the forest path and creates the impression of a dance. Their steps, gazes and body language are sensitively captured by Antanas Sutkus. August Sander’s famous photograph of the three Young Farmers from 1914 comes to mind immediately.
Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, Cologne